Beginning Tenkara - Kebari tied in-hand vise without tools

Playing around last evening with Japanese tenkara search terms. I discovered two new websites aimed at tenkara beginners.

The first one - Tenkara Life - has been around since Sept. From the POV of a novice.

The second one - tenkara-beginner - started in January 2017, and seems to be from someone who is an experienced tenkara angler. It is the site where he ties a couple of kebari without using a vice or any tools. Only the materials used to tie the kebari.

Interesting so see the creation of two new websites aimed at introducing tenkara. Perhaps a sign of increasing popularity. Nothing like it on an English language site , just bits scattered here and there. The early stuff on TenkaraUSA, I think it the closest similar site. On second thought, the Discover Tenkara emailed lessons, and In Focus post clearly qualify.

First site -

Tenkara Life: Introduction to Tenkara, a mountain stream fishing beginner from zero to until one fish caught.

Second site -

Getting Started! Beginner Tenkara | Supporting the first steps of Tenkara Fishing
This is the one wherein he has two entries tying kebari in hand. The videos are also on the Max Fuji YouTube Channel.

Tenkara sakasa kebari. Item 1) ミシン糸, sewing machine thread. Interesting choice of light blue.

Tenkara sakasa kebari , (ボディにピーコック編)Peacock body edition

The blog entry for the first kebari is here

The tier appears to have some experience tying them this way.
Time will tell if both websites continue to develop or trail off.
I always find it interesting to see how a new skill is introduced from the view points of a novice and from a more experienced person. Generally the more experienced person provides better information, but they will also often skip over things that may stand out more to complete beginner. You get both POVs.

I don’t often tie kebair in hand, usually a few each year. Just for fun. Though I often find the Sebata type kebari using self fusing tape easier to tie in hand, or at least the tape wrapping part is easier.


Thanks David!!! Great work; this is interesting. I hope this starts more English speaking people
to start adding sites. Who knows, we may be at the tip of the iceberg looking at a new revolution sweeping across the fishing community. ><))))))*>

Mike Kookagee Shelton

In defense of the English speaking Tenkara World. Almost everyone is still in the Rookie stage. The most knowledgeable are advanced rookies or just a little past that stage.

Being a tenkara rookie anywhere in the world is a steep walk. The only exception is in Japan where a tenkara rookie can have access to people with over 40 years of tenkara experience. Here, most tenkara people are mostly isolated. Only a few have regular face to face contact with people who have a few years of tenkara experience, most of them six years at most.

Over the preceding years I have found I think Japanese 3 tenkara tutorial websites. That started from the basics progressing to more advanced topics. The language was always a challenge, however, the diagrams often quite good. The most comprehensive one was written over 12 years ago, had about 28 chapters, but it disappeared a few months ago.

I often compare Tenkara to the game of Go.
Both only require 3 things : rod, line & fly, Or white stones, black stones & a 19 x 19 grid board. The basics of both are simple. But the advanced practice / techniques of both takes years to develop.

Anyway, for a beginner, no need to say they can’t tie kebari because they don’t own, or can’t afford ; a tying vise, bobbin holder, whip finish tool. Seeing a few videos showing how to tie a fly in hand they can still give it a go with the only tool needed is a pair of scissors, or a knife. The only materials some feathers and some hooks. Almost everyone has some sewing thread.


Two more variations

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Thank you David, your words are very true.

And if someone finds holding the hook to be a bit too difficult, I have found that a pair of Dr. Slick curved Spring Creek clamps holds the hook as well as a cheapo vise and you really need clamps for fishing anyway. Very basic instruction on tying with clamps and nippers (which you also need anyway) are here: Fly Tying with Clamps and Nippers


Minimum necessary tools and 1970’s kebari

But I want to have fun :smile:

My fingers hurt :joy:

Interesting tool. Looks like it was originally designed to screw onto something else.
In the 1970s I was in the Navy and had no thoughts of someday tying flies.

I was young and full of energy :muscle:

I was thinking of the cheap vises that come in a beginner’s fly tying kit.

Yes, it is
Spike to drive into a tree

Ha ha ha::smile:
It’s cheaper than that
It became easier than tying by hand

The more I thought about that the more I thought - yeah, I’ve seen pictures of tying vises that have the same shape. Even has the same set of holes drilled in the knurled part.

小さな携帯用タイイングバイス, Small portable tying vise

The progression from improvised tying tools to this portable vise is shown on this old blog post.

And people find many ways to improvise a tying vise from common house hold tools when they don’t have a tying vise.

I wonder what purpose the nail in the base serves.

Or figure out other ways, some crude, some not.
タイイングバイス 自作 Tying vise self made.

I’m undecided if this next one qualifies as a vise. The blog post label is
がまかつの小型タイイングバイス ( Gama katsu no kogata taiingubaisu) That looks to me like - Gamakatsu small size (or small type) tying vise.

Shouldn’t a vise be some minimum size larger than the fly?
As an aside, I bet Jean Santos could make a much more attractive version.


Hmmm, kind of an interesting discovery.
The tenkara-beginner website, linked to in the initial post of this topic, is also linked to by Dr Ishigaki at the top of his blog. With the following text -

New ネットで読める「テンカラ釣りの入門書」 わかりやすくまとめられています。
New “Tenkara fishing primer” which can be read on the net is easy to understand.

He links directly to this section of the website

Whoever is behind the website has gained the attention of the Tenkara King. :wink:

For anyone who is unfamiliar with Dr. Ishigki’s blog, here is the link.
Though I think most people here are already familiar with it.

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I would recommend this website as a primer.
This website is not a commercial basis nor a personal opinion
but it introduces the fundamentally obediently

Kebari tied in-hand vise without tools

It is not dogmatic and prejudice
Everything written is able to agree

That is a good website.
I’ve looked in several times over the last 3 years. Thank you for the reminder about it.

I was looking at it a few days ago. And thought I should check to see if it has been added to the On-Line Resources section of this forum. Then I forgot to check if it is there.

I think many people here, or people who were members of the Tenkara-Fisher forum have known about it for a few years too.
The language blocks a deeper understanding of all the information, but the diagrams and pictures are very good. A lot can be figured out from studying them a little bit. If you can read a little bit of Japanese it helps a lot.

The same web page can also be found at the following link.
(which does not have the index list on the right side of the page)


Thank you David :smile:

A new video from Daniel Galhardo, which he states will be the first of many that he will be concentrating on uploading after finishing the Tenkara book project.

Tying Flies (in hand) with Mr. Yuzo Sebata.

I’ve seen him tie the self fusing tape bodied flies where he doesn’t use thread at all, even tying off the hackle with the tape. But I’ve not had any success doing it that way. It is not stated in the video but elsewhere I’ve read that one of the reasons he uses it is that it helps to sink the fly quicker.

I sometimes tie a few flies with tape bodies, the tape that has worked best for me is 3M Temflex rubber tape. It’s pretty stretchy. A narrow 1 inch piece will stretch to about 6 inches before breaking. Sometimes I over wrap the tape with Wily yarn to add color; pink, orange, tan or brown. Pink and orange have often been readily taken by fish on many outings.

You can find other examples of kebari tied with self fusing tape with any of these search phrases:
瀬畑雄三 手巻き毛鉤 Sebata Yūzō hand wound hand rolled kebari ( or wrapped in hand kebari)
瀬畑雄三 手巻き自己融着テープ毛鉤 , Sebata Yūzō hand-wound self-fusing tape fly (kebari)
自己融着テープ毛鉤 , self bonding tape kebari

Here’s a recent post, 瀬畑さんの『翁毛鉤』Mr Sebata’s “Okina fly” [Old man kebari] with Yellow body.

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Another bit of interesting history of the VICE from the Fishing Museum.

"… For most of the 2000 years that we know fly fishing has been practised, every fly was tied on a hook held in the fisherman’s hand, with little help other than a pair of scissors. … But although it was described in 1800, the vice didn’t really come into common use before the 1875, and that may have been due to the adoption of the eyed hook, …

  • very early tyers whipped their hooks directly onto the end of their line, which would have made it difficult for them to use a vice even if it had been invented in those days. Whipped-on flies being hard things to change, these early anglers might well have fished the whole season with just one or two flies.

it is more than likely that lack of familiarity with the new tool played a major part in delaying its adoption, because the vast majority of people who were taught to tie flies in the hand continued to do so all their lives, because they simply couldn’t get used to using a vice. …

By the end of the nineteenth century a wide variety of fly tying vices was available, even though the argument about whether it was necessary to use one or not had yet to be completely laid to rest. … "

One person reported he did not use a vice because in his opinion it was slower than tying in hand. Early models were probably adapted from Jeweler’s clamps. Examples are shown on the below website.

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